I’ve mentioned several times that I have a colorful real life past and one thing I don’t deny, but rarely advertise is one of the many jobs I had in my early 20s. I was a stripper. Oh, not the glamorous kind you see in the movies, but in a small local club with strict rules that did not allow nudity. I know, laugh, how is it s strip club if there’s no nudity. Well, you break the rules, or you don’t…regardless you provide a fantasy, a distraction for men that they could not find at home. Whether single or married the men that came to our club wanted to feel special. They weren’t looking to cheat on their wives, well…most of them weren’t. Most of them just wanted to go somewhere that it was understood that what happened there, stayed there…much like the famous Vegas rule. It was good money, no one was getting hurt, and I got a lot of free drinks and drugs.
Its a scary profession though, sex work. Let me explain that sex workers are not just prostitutes and porn stars. Anyone that works in the sex industry…whether is working in an adult toy store, creators of said toys, writers and models in the magazines, performance artists that include nudity in their shows. If their profession centers around the business of sex, they are classified as sex workers. Now, here’s the kicker. Sex workers are treated like garbage when it comes to the law. A sex worker gets raped? The cops rarely if every take it seriously. While I was a stripper, one of the dancers at my club was found murdered in the dumpster behind the club. They never even roped off the dumpster as a crime scene. They never caught who killed her and they didn’t ask any of us any questions.They didn’t care. Another dancer and I were involved in an altercation with a disgruntled customer and she ended up getting stabbed in the spleen with a fillet in the parking lot. We took her to the hospital straight away and even though she was clearly stabbed, because of who we were and where we said it happened? Nothing. No investigation, there wasn’t even an official report filed. I didn’t work in the industry for very long, lets face it…its not a great career move and I was feared turning into an alcoholic. As it was, I would show up an hour before my shift, drink three shots, and smoke weed before I could even get on stage. Knowing I was only going to strip down to some skimpy lingerie. I would never have been able to work at a full nude club and those were so far removed from the city, the crimes against the dancers out there were even worse. So my job as a dancer/stripper, adult entertainer…sex worker? Lasted all of six months. I saw too much in short of a time and it scared the crap out of me. The worst part was knowing that if anything DID happen directly to me? No one would really care. No one would pay for their crimes against me and they would be free to do it again and again and again.
Many years later, in my early 30s, I was invited to help host a Sex Workers Art Show at a local arts venue. I was so excited and honored to be involved to help raise awareness and showcase some incredible art. There were performance artist, dancers, poets, writers, painters, it was an incredible show and they were so grateful for our hospitality. When I took these photos, I was surrounded by my friends, not gawking strangers throwing money at me, but it certainly took me down memory lane. I knew immediately I would have to speak up for Sex Workers in my post. I ask you to please not judge something simply because you don’t agree with it or understand it or know anything about it. Please go forward with an open heart and open mind.
Funny little thing happened me to earlier as I was writing this post, a dear friend of mine approached me and ask me to join the press team for One Billion Rising. I am so honored to be part of such an incredible event. I will write more about this in my upcoming posts, but in the meantime, I urge you to check the website for yourself and see how you can participate and what its all about. Once again, I am honored to assist in bringing awareness to such an important national issue.
***I like to send a very special thanks to my wonderful friends and family that helped me by posing in the background for me: Grace, Dusty, Sora, Beanni, Tracy, Troy, Garret, Ara, and of course, Josh. ♥
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